X-Message-Number: 16765
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 22:33:20 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Concentration Camps and Future Judgments

The question came up of whether future generations would consider us 
barbaric, and it led to Lee Corbin's posting #16665 with the following:

(IGGY Dybal, #16647:)

> >Don't forget that Japanese Americans were put in the concentration
> >camps in the USA during WWII, while their sons were fighting
> >Japan and Hitler.  Isn't this a paradox?
>It was absolutely necessary!  Military authorities estimated
>that perhaps as much as five percent of the Japanese-American
>population would have welcomed a Japanese invasion of the
>west coast.  Ever heard of the "Black Dragon"?  Uh, these are
>extremely politically incorrect subjects, but the Black Dragon
>was a group of Japanese-Americans ready to commit sabotage if
>a Japanese invasion materialized.

I hadn't heard of the Black Dragon, but I have studied the 
Japanese-American incarceration, and I strongly disagree with the 
conclusion that it was "absolutely necessary." Innocent people lost their 
property, not to be recovered, in addition to undergoing a long detention 
without trial or due process. Hawaii had a much larger fraction of 
Japanese-Americans than did California at the time, yet it was unmolested 
while Californians were subjected to the infamous "relocation." Yet did a 
massive uprising start in Hawaii? True, the oppression was far overshadowed 
by other monstrous events of the time, but it still was, in my view, a 
disgusting and unnecessary act that allowed certain greedy individuals to 
gain at the expense of other, innocent people. (And I'll allow that a 
mitigating circumstance was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the 
subsequent fear of a Japanese invasion of the mainland.) When, in 1988, the 
victims still living were finally awarded $20,000 each, the relocation was 
characterized as "one of America's worst mistakes." I agree. The remark 
made about German-Americans not being similarly harassed (and not 
misbehaving as a consequence of being left alone; one could include 
Italian-Americans too) is also relevant.

To put this in perspective, we are all imperfect and might well be judged 
barbaric by future standards. No person or group is exempt, yet we do live 
in tough times relative to what we hope about that future, and this must 
count as a mitigating circumstance.

It is interesting to compare the $20,000 compensation figure, covering 
about 2 years' detention and other losses, with the approximately $9,000 
the "Alcor six" each received in compensation for a few hours' detention 
under false arrest on Jan. 7, 1988, in connection with the Dora Kent 
suspension. (I was one of the six.)

Mike Perry
Alcor Member

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